Brooks Duncan of has a(nother) post about OneNote. This might be of interest to you, as my posts on OneNote vs Evernote are the most popular posts by far.

Disclosure: I’m an affiliate of I promote Brooks’ products because I have found them to be very useful in my attempt to “go paperless”. Brooks’ free 7-part email course on going paperless was what prompted me to stop dithering and take the plunge. Then, once I’d bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap and started scanning, and thought, “Now, what? How do I sort and store my scans so that I can find them again?”, that’s when I bought one of Brooks’ Guides to going paperless, and I recommend checking them out.

More on that later, but first, here’s Brooks’ post about OneNote.

Tip: Make Use Of OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is a tool that many Microsoft Office users have, but I’ll bet many aren’t sure what to do with.

It is one of those products that has many raving fans, and I have written about it more than once on DocumentSnap.

If you want to get more out of OneNote, Vivian Manning over at the great Small City Law Firm Tech blog has started a helpful series about how she uses OneNote. Here are the first few entries:

Even if you are not a lawyer, you will find the entries helpful. She really knows her stuff.

Any other OneNote fans out there?

While I’m at it, here’s a plug for a couple of other recent DocumentSnap blog posts which might interest you productivity mavens out there:

After playing with OneNote, I decided to stick to Evernote,  and here’s a recent tip on how to web-clip to Evernote from your iPhone, from the Elephant Channel.  On my computer, I use Evernote’s web-clipper all the time, and the lack of this function on the iPhone limited my iPhone use of Evernote. Now, if there’s a similar function for the iPad Evernote app…

Back to Brooks Duncan’s paperless guides. The main reason I rave about these is that, they taught me the importance of workflows. Going paperless means scanning then filing large amounts of documents. Where should they go?

  • in a folder on your computer?
  • to one or more of your mobile devices?
  • to Dropbox?
  • to your backup hard-drive?
  • to your backup “in the Cloud”?
  • all of the above?

If you don’t have a system in place, you can very quickly run into trouble. Here’re some examples.

  • You scanned the document (along with about 10 others), but then forgot that some need to stay on your computer, and some need to go onto your portable device, pronto, for tomorrow’s meetings. You get to work, fire up your iPad and … can’t find the doc. That’s because it’s scanned and sitting on your computer’s hard-drive at home.
  • You canned the doc, then (progress, here) imported it into iTunes, intending to batch-move a bunch of docs over to your iPad later. Only later never happened (dinner called, a phone-call, a visitor, etc).
  • You scan about 20 docs, plug in your iPad, and start importing those docs into iTunes. But wait. Where are those docs? They are various, and they are therefore stored in different folders on your hard-drive: some are “personal” (let’s not pry), some are for your immediate projects, some are administrative docs, some are just backups of work stuff, just in case, etc. Where are they all? Your scanned docs need to stay on your pc AND go to your portable device. No problem. Your memory is flawless, right? But for some reason, the doc you absolutely need the next day isn’t on your iPad.
  • You scan the docs, put them into iTunes, copy them to your iPad. Mission accomplished! Next meeting, you find you’ve left your iPad in the car/on the train/at home, or it’s run out of juice, etc. No problem! Use your smart-phone. Just login to Dropbox… only to find you didn’t do that step of the “failsafe” process. The cupboard is bare.

Result? Disappointment and frustration, and time wasted.
You need a system. A workflow, and a system for naming files, a system for filing files.

I’m still working on this aspect of going paperless, but at least I know what I need: a workflow, or rather, a number of workflows for different scenarios. Brooks gives a number of examples, and obviously you need to tailor them to your own situation, but at least they will give you an idea of what needs to be done, and some sample ways to achieve your goal of seamless morphing to a paperless state.

If you’re thinking of going paperless, but are still standing on the bank fully clothed, wondering if it’s worth taking a shoe and sock off and testing the waters, then don’t buy Brooks’ Paperless Guides: first, sign up for his free 7-part email course on going paperless. This will give you a clear idea of what’s involved, and also make it sound less daunting than you thought and possibly more fun that you anticipate. After trying out the steps in that course, if you’re still eager to go “all the way”, then by all means check out Brooks’ various “Guides to going Paperless”.

There are various packages, for both Mac and Windows users. The more expensive packages include audios (with transcripts) of interviews with various successful paperless users, as well as workflow charts and screencast videos of exactly how Brooks manages his paper.

His guides include many suggested actions that you may not have considered as vital to going paperless, such as how to successfully find those painstakingly scanned PDFs, and various backup options (Brooks recommends both cloud and non-cloud backup storage.)